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Combine thoughts: I like Vic Beasley

The new Jameis Winston, or a tired, old act?


Dan from Kelso, WA

Vic, one ILB I like in this draft is Stephone Anthony from Clemson. Has Tony Pauline given you any insight on Anthony as a prospect, or if he could be a fit in Green Bay? Thanks for your great work.

Tony likes Anthony. He thinks he'd be a good fit in Green Bay.

Roger from Auburn, CA

Vic, can we believe all of the negative information swirling around Paul Dawson? This guy was supposed to be a first-round pick. If he falls to the Packers in the second round, do you think they might take a chance on him?

Dawson has a new problem: a bad combine workout. I don't know how far the combination of his off-the-field problems and his bad combine workout will cause him to fall.

Brad from Gallatin, TN

Why is there so much time between the combine and the draft?

It's possible the combine will be moved to March one day, but I like it where it is because it turns the page on a new year and it gives us something to interest us during a dead spot in the NFL calendar. The information accumulated doesn't get old, plus it'll be complemented by pro days and personal workouts.

Don from Albuquerque, NM

You missed something. "It's not just a philosophy for shaping a roster, it's a philosophy for creating a bond between team and player." Also, keeping players creates a bond between fans and players.

You're absolutely correct. Fans see drafted players as homegrown products. They identify with them. When a guy is drafted by a team and remains with that team his entire career, I don't get questions asking me what team he's going to represent in the Hall of Fame. Identifying with one team is a big part of establishing a link between fans and players, and free agency has damaged that bond.

Tim from Huntsville, AL

Vic, still absolutely love your column. Would like to hear your take on Winston. He seems to say all the right things but doesn't do the right things. That's a sign of immaturity, and that smacks of being a bust. Your thoughts? Am I wrong?

I'm not sure what to think about him. He was forthcoming during his media interview. He was expressive, cooperative and contrite. Was it the new Jameis Winston, or was it just a tired, old act? The Bucs are facing a huge decision on this guy. If they draft him, he will immediately become the face of the franchise, regardless of whether it's a good face or a bad face. I would have to dig real deep into Winston before draft day. I would have to talk to a lot of people that know him and know of him before I felt comfortable with the decision I would make, but I'm inclined to believe I would draft him. Why? Because he is an off-the-charts talent. You don't often have the opportunity to draft someone of this caliber.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

At 4.53, Vic Beasley can both run down Russell Wilson and blanket Gronkowski. Does GM Vic move up in the draft to get him?

Beasley is the guy that interests me the most in this draft class. He has Aldon Smith length and pass-rush potential. Can he cover? If the answer is yes, Beasley will be a star in this league. Move up? Probably not. I don't like giving away draft picks.

Matt from London, UK

After an underwhelming performance from the linebackers at the combine and Jones' release, do you think you can find value targeting Brandon Spikes in free agency? He's solid against the run and would provide a veteran presence despite only being 27.

Vontaze Burfict was underwhelming at the combine; how'd that turn out? I don't get this thing every year about it being a bad class of inside linebackers. Of course, it is; that's why they're playing inside linebacker. If they tested well, they'd be playing outside linebacker. Inside linebackers are tough guys. They take on blocks. They make tackles. They play special teams. They're not run and jump guys. They're often guys with suspect measurables: too small, too slow, not athletic enough, etc. Yeah, but watch them hit. I don't agree that it's a bad class of inside linebackers. I think you can always find too-small, too-slow guys that want to it. Chris Borland?

Kevin from New Castle, IN

Vic, I keep reading the Packers get to carry over around $7.5 million of unused cap space from last season. How does that work? Does that mean the Packers have that added to the salary cap this year, allowing them to spend over the cap, or have more cap space?

More cap space. You raise a good question: How does cap space credited back to a team impact cap surveys, such as the one that was released last week?

Scott from Wasilla, AK

Vic, you know Jameis Winston was cited for stealing crab legs. Would you draft him if he were the best available player? Would you ever rely on someone who would willingly take advantage of you if the benefits outweighed the risks?

Would you pass on a star player at the most important position in all of sports, knowing it could cost you your job?

Joe from Maidstone, UK

Is acquiring a high-profile free agent what the fans want?

Yes, it is, because it excites them and gives them something to debate.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Vic, what does Tony Pauline think of Vic Beasley?

He likes him, but I don't think he likes him as much as I do. It's about the hand-on-the-ground thing. Beasley is a classic tweener. You need a crystal ball to draft him.

Lane from Calgary, Alberta

Vic, do you see the Packers taking an outside linebacker and a running back in this draft, with the perceived depth at those positions in the draft, even though they might not be current team needs?

I think outside linebacker is an annual need for any team that plays a 3-4. The running back class is so deep it'll be nearly impossible for one not to be at the top of your board when you pick.

Donovan from Baldwin Park, CA

Does cutting Brad Jones affect the Packers in consideration for compensatory picks?

No. Compensatory picks are awarded for having lost free agents that were on your roster when free agency began.

Ted from Milton, WI

Vic, I read your column a quite a bit and I have seen you use the phrase, "picking the same guy several times." I don't know what you mean by that. For example, if your team could use a couple of linebackers and two guys look good, what is wrong with picking them both? If Lawrence Taylor and Clay Matthews were in the same draft.

My reference is to need picking. In other words, you've decided you're one player away, say, a pass rusher, and you ignore your value board and just pick pass rushers. What often happens is you strike out on the pass rushers, and then you sustain losses at positions at which you've could've drafted players that were at the top of your board.

Rob from Fond du Lac, WI

Vic, does the team you write for change others' perceptions about you? Is there any level of team prestige? I imagine you slide through all layers of the scouting society. Thanks for revealing a fascinating side of the game.

The team doesn't define the writer, but the writer can define the team, and that's why it's very important that reporters cover a team responsibly.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Vic, I am on my computer tonight looking for information on the combine. It seems like every link I click on takes me to a video. Are we losing the art of the written word in our society? Sometimes it seems like more is less. I much prefer to read information, so I have time to process it at my pace.

We have a tool we can use to determine how deep into a story the readers are reading. It'll tell us, for example, that 75 percent of the readers are reading down to here. Usually, by the fifth paragraph, most of the readers have stopped reading. It makes me sad.

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